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Poster: ScreenAttractions Date: Jun 18, 2009 6:41pm
Forum: DriveInMovieAds Subject: Re: Drive-In clips removed due to copyright claim

The licensing of a clip by an entity does not grant mechanical rights to others; people can't copy and freely distribute it as they please. Public domain or not.

As you allude, it boils down to being able to prove which clips are infringing. Our original footage is positively identifiable by the scratches, splices, and other unique markers physically present (and tactile) in particular frames and on the soundtrack. Like a fingerprint, our original film footage can be matched frame-for-frame to the infringing items. So there's no doubt what's ours and what isn't. Note, these are the original 35MM FILM sources, they are not videos... which would be impossible to distinquish the original source without an embedded ID.

Our property has been successfully defended in a growing number of cases and we are slowly having our day in court. Clips that have not been removed yet are either not ours or are still being documented as we discover them. Once more, these subjects are NOT in the public domain. The music alone precludes that (since those libraries are still very much in business - I know, we lease them).

FWIW, the archive footage has never been listed on our website. The bulk of our work is in custom film production (not video). Because of the Something Weird debacle, however, we are now very particular about who we license footage to.

Again, thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Timothy Reed
Screen Attractions

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Poster: Video-Cellar Date: Jun 18, 2009 11:42pm
Forum: DriveInMovieAds Subject: Re: Drive-In clips removed due to copyright claim

The "Chattel" (i.e. physical property related to the copyright in this case film print) is not protected by copyright at all. This is regardless of whether the film was released with or without copyright protection. Copright protects the right to copy the physical work for the period that it is subject to copyright, not into perpetuity. When an audio visual work enters the puplic domain or is released into the public domain the reproduction of the work is not protected by copyright (Bridgeman Art Library Ltd. v. Corel Corporation) regardless of the skill or work that goes into said reproduction (there is no place for a "sweat of the brow" as a basis for copyright claim in US law [Feist Publications v. Rural Telephone Service])

I aggree the music could be an issue. Generally works from this period used in their original context do not constitute an infringement of "underlying" rights (MALJACK PRODUCTIONS, INC. v. GOODTIMES HOME VIDEO CORP. [synchronisation rights to music in motion pictures are encapsulated in the Motion Picture copyright, mechanical rights can be covered by compulsory licensing or by direct arrangement with the publisher as per the law.]). However, if these items were released without the necessary formalities, the visual and non-musical content would definitely be in the Public Domain regardless of the source of the material.

Are you, therefore, saying that these original films were first published in accordance with the copyright formalities of the time and that the copyright, as such, was owned, operated or transferred to Screen Attractions? I can't find any records in the US copyright office related to "Screen Attractions".

I should point out that I haven't contributed to the Drive-In collection. I am just interested in the rationale for the copyright claim knowing that in the past I have been subject to threats of counter claims of copyfraud in instances where I have attempted to assert rights over my own archival stock.

This post was modified by Video-Cellar on 2009-06-19 06:42:01